Despite Bad PR Fracking Rolls On
A lot of people seem to hate fracking. But the folks who support it and those invested in this technology can’t find time to care. They’re too busy becoming the leader in domestic oil production to bother with naysayers. That may not always be the case, but at the moment, fracking is the energy Cinderella, a technology that has absolutely refined the global energy marketplace.
At this point, US Fracking now claims more than half of all U.S. oil output. This is driving domestic oil prices down and making a lot of people very, very wealthy.
It’s also making a lot of other people very, very unhappy. Anti-fracking concerns are widespread and vocal. From flaming water to poisoned wells and earthquakes, opponents point to many environmental disasters they say are caused by fracking. Many are listening … but many are not.
According to CNN, the number of fracking operations has grown from 23,000 wells in 2000 to 300,000 wells today. That’s from 102,000 barrels a day to 4.3 million barrels a day. This incredible growth has allowed the U.S. to increase its output times two in the past decade, putting this country at number three on the global market, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia.
But battle lines have been drawn. Those who are concerned about fracking are very concerned, delivering a steady stream of anti-fracking messaging across all forms of media. The biggest rock in the pond was one of the first, an HBO documentary called “Gasland” that introduced many to fracking in the worst possible way, by highlighting communities that, according to the documentary, were adversely affected by fracking.
On the other side of that argument is an oil industry which says new technology has made fracking not only more efficient but also much safer. It also means the end of $100 per barrel oil. This last factor, which cut prices at the pump nearly in half, has proven to be the most popular argument. People who don’t live near a fracking operation don’t care much about potential downsides when their fuel costs have been cut in half.
That leaves fracking opponents with the difficult task of convincing people to pay more for something that isn’t directly impacting them anywhere else but their wallet. A tough sell if there ever was one.